Want to give a compliment to a soccer ball? Tell its designers that the ball exhibits a true flight pattern with plenty of feel on the foot. Those are two of the characteristics Nike has attempted to engineer into its just-released Ordem, the official ball for the Barclays Premier League in England, Serie A TIM in Italy and La Liga BBVA in Spain.
The 12-panel ball is fuse-welded — i.e. the seams are melted together — in a three-layer casing system that protects a poly-blend wrapped, free-floating carbon latex bladder. The fused panels aim to give a “highly sensitive feel” and response off the foot, according to Nike.
With the panels performing on the ground, Nike AEROW TRAC grooves work in the air. The latest proprietary design from Nike channels air for a consistent flight, ensuring stability mid-air. Nobody wants a knuckling ball, not the striker and certainly not the goalie.
For a little extra pizzazz, the Ordem includes a “rapid decision and response technology” graphic pattern. Different for each of the three leagues, the patterns create a flickering effect as the ball rotates, making it easier for players to pick up the ball in their peripheral vision. Of course, you’ll likely see some extra pop from your television screen too.
The Ordem enters play in the upcoming seasons. We’ll wait and see if Europe’s top clubs offer up the compliments.
Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and gear for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.